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Unilateral Nipple Reconstruction with Nipple Sharing: Time for a Second Look

Zenn, Michael R. M.D.; Garofalo, Jo Ann R.N.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: June 2009 - Volume 123 - Issue 6 - p 1648-1653
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181a3f2f9
Breast: Original Articles

Background: Nipple-sharing reconstruction in unilateral breast reconstruction is not a new technique. Although barriers to its regular use exist, no other technique can offer a nipple reconstruction with all of the following: proper size, proper shape, proper color match, proper texture, and long-term projection. The large number of flap techniques that exist for nipple reconstruction testify to the reconstructive challenge.

Methods: This study describes 57 patients who underwent nipple sharing as their primary mode of nipple reconstruction.

Results: Overall patient satisfaction with the technique was 88 percent. Data regarding size, shape, color, sensation, and erectile function in the graft, and donor-site morbidity are presented.

Conclusions: These data provide the physician with the necessary information to make an informed discussion regarding nipple-sharing reconstruction. Nipple sharing should be considered a viable alternative in unilateral breast reconstruction and should especially be considered after irradiation where flap procedures are contraindicated.

Durham, N.C.

From Duke University Medical Center.

Received for publication September 17, 2008; accepted November 25, 2008.

Disclosure: Neither of the authors has any financial interests or disclosures related to this article.

Michael R. Zenn, M.D., Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Duke University Medical Center 3358, Durham, N.C. 27710,

©2009American Society of Plastic Surgeons